Pupils working together to plan the curriculum for their school

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Learners in Gladestry Primary School work with both teaching staff and each other to set learning targets and improve their school environment. As a result, pupils are highly engaged and attendance is well above average.

Number of pupils: 46
Age range: 3 - 11
Date of Inspection: March 2015

Information about the school

Gladestry Church in Wales Primary School is in the village of Gladestry in the Powys local authority.  There are 46 pupils on roll between the ages of three and eleven.  The school has two mixed age classes and employs two full-time teachers, which includes the headteacher.  

Currently, few pupils are eligible for free school meals.  No pupils come from ethnic minority backgrounds or have English as an additional language and no pupils speak Welsh as their first language.  

The school has identified around 20% of its pupils as having additional learning needs.  No pupils have a statement of special educational needs.  

The school promotes a very successful learning culture in which the contributions of pupils to school improvement, in partnership with all members of the school community, are highly valued and effective.

Context and background to sector-leading practice

Throughout the school there are very strong working relationships between staff and pupils, allowing pupils to influence the life of the school purposefully and effectively.  Collaborative decision‑making discussions are the starting point of all planning, provision and evaluation.  Staff provide all pupils with extensive opportunities to make choices, take risks, rise to the occasion and challenge themselves.  Pupils review all aspects of the school highly effectively, making changes to policies and procedures where necessary.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

Pupils use self and peer assessment confidently and understand the concept of ‘next steps’ in learning.  They set and evaluate their individual and sometimes group targets for improvement, both against the National Curriculum and more recently also against the expectations of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework.  Pupils are able to identify what they need to do very effectively and they take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.  Pupils have a central role in identifying, developing and evaluating school priorities.  They do this through the planning and delivery of assemblies to gather the views of pupils, and through questionnaires to gather the views of pupils and stakeholders.  They analyse the evidence to a high standard and present their findings clearly to pupils and other stakeholders.  Pupils produce, implement and evaluate focused action plans, which are included in the school’s annual School Improvement Plan.  Many result in changes to the school environment and give pupils detailed information about the topics covered. 

There are extensive opportunities for pupils to evaluate teaching and presentations made by other pupils.  The comments they make are generally evaluative and focus well on what they observed as strengths and areas for development.  These opportunities ensure that pupils have a good understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and learning for them, at a level in line with their age and ability.  They also develop their literacy skills to a high standard as they provide oral and written feedback.  As well as observing lessons, pupils undertake learning walks and book scrutiny, providing valuable feedback to staff on what they do well and what they might do to improve.  They lead training for staff members.  As a result of these opportunities, pupils consistently demonstrate high standards of literacy: attainment has been consistently higher than predicted for the last three years and future estimates are also high.  In the national tests in 2013 and 2014, pupils achieved significantly above all benchmarking expectations.

Pupils also design and lead whole school initiatives, prepare and teach lessons in both classes, mark work and set relevant targets for each other.  They have excellent problem solving skills, which they develop in the many challenging scenarios they create.  These qualities ensure that they are highly motivated and are able to learn extremely well.  

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

Pupils’ ability to take responsibility for their own learning is exceptional.  Pupils have the skills needed to work effectively with others, solve problems well and develop their thinking creatively in order to move on successfully to the next stage of learning.  Involved in all curriculum planning, they have ownership of all their work and demonstrate very high levels of engagement; they constantly strive to meet and often surpass their targets, and take pride in their own and each other’s achievements.  Collating, presenting and analysing evidence gathered from self-evaluation ensures that pupils achieve excellent levels in a wide range of numeracy, literacy and data handling skills.  All pupils make progress that is at least good in relation to their starting point as they move through the school.

Attendance is consistently well above average at 97.6%.

How have you shared your good practice?

The school provides effective school-to-school support to other schools, sharing many documents, such as the child-friendly Child Protection policy produced by the pupils and completed pupil lesson and work scrutiny observation forms.  It provides mentoring for teachers and shares good practice in pupil/staff partnerships with many teachers from within the county who come to visit the school.